Reviewer: QSS

By this author

Books October 14, 2017

The Sparsholt Affair

When Alan Hollinghurst burst upon the literary world 30-odd years ago with The Swimming-Pool Library he looked like a major talent in search of a minor subject matter. Or was it wrong to say that here was a high comedian of fiction in the manner …

Books September 09, 2017


Karl Ove Knausgaard is the writer since Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace, both alas dead mid-career, for whom the highest claims are made internationally. His multi-volume My Struggle saga asks to be taken as seriously as a work of fiction …

Books August 19, 2017


Every so often someone writes fiction that ravishes the popular imagination. Robert Drewe did it at the outset with The Bodysurfers in 1983 and Christos Tsiolkas has been doing it in his latest books. Now Drewe has done it again in Whipbird, …

Books July 08, 2017

The Secrets She Keeps

It’s amazing the airs trash fiction gives itself these days. The latest effort by Michael Robotham exploits the neat unstartling idea of a woman who works in a supermarket who steals a newborn baby of a posh woman she befriends. It has plenty of tension …

Books July 01, 2017


Hinterland is one of those big Australian bush novels in which a group of people – some of them sick, some of them rich and vicious, some of them vassals of the rich or put-upon kids – all collide in a big quasi-political story of grand themes …

Books May 06, 2017

I’d Die for You

Bob Dylan sang, “You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books/you’re very well read, it’s well known” about someone who knew something was happening but didn’t know what it was. Was that like Fitzgerald? Pretty early on he started …

Books April 22, 2017

House of Names

It’s an intrepid novelist who goes into the house of Atreus as an adjunct of the house of fiction but that’s what Colm Tóibín has done. The man who took on the voice of Henry James in The Master has written a contemporary novel about the …

Books April 01, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon

It’s funny the way even true crime has its prestige market.  Killers of the Flower Moon is a most elaborate and densely historical account of a pile of horrible murders, executed by David Grann with what is sometimes a conscious grandeur …

Books February 25, 2017

The Name on the Door Is Not Mine

[TOC:ul In this story] Karl Stead is in his 80s now and for as long as anyone can remember he has been New Zealand’s leading literary critic. It was in the 1960s that he wrote The New Poetic, a book that shed light on T. S. Eliot by suggesting …